Blog : September 2011
You may be surprised, or even dismayed to learn that indoor air qulaity is often worse than outdoor air quality. But there's something easy, inexpensive, and very green that you can do to combat this problem.
Researchers have found that adding a few plants to a house or office space can purify and revitalize the air and protect us from negative effects of common toxins.
Top 10 Air Cleaning Plants:
1. Areca palm
2. Reed palm
3. Dwarf date palm
4. Boston fern
6. English Ivy
7. Australian sword fern
8. Peace lily
9. Rubber plant
10. Weeping fig
And when you have plants in an office setting, it tends to improve health and morale, as well!
By now you know that the beloved Memorial Bridge has been closed to vehicle traffic, and that won't change until perhaps 2014 after major rebuilding has been completed. So the Seacoast community is sending the bridge out with a picnic/party this Saturday, Oct 1, and they're doing it right!
There will be plenty of food and activities for the whole family; check out this lineup of entertainment, including food and activities from Green Alliance Business Partners. The Children's Museum will have a great build a bridge craft where kids can recreate the bridge with straws & connectors; Bob's Clam Hut and Beach Pea Bakery will be food vendors; and Smuttynose beer will be on sale, as well!
Schedule of Timed Events
12 to 4 Cap’n and Patty’s boat rides Badger’s Isl. East One Harbor Place
2 to 2:45 Jon Nolan music fountain stage
3:10 to 3:55 Kurt Baker music fountain stage
4 to 4:30 Ribbon Ceremony presentation bridge approach – Portsmouth side
4:45 to 5:35 Zach Jones music fountain stage
6 to 7 Tan Vampires music fountain stage
7:30 Fireworks presentation river
8 Finding Nemo movie main stage
It’s not often that peer pressure is thought of in positive terms. But that’s exactly what helped put matching alternative energy systems on two neighboring Somersworth homes.
Back in March, town resident Tim Sullivan was contacted by friend and former colleague Jack Bingham, owner of the nearby SEA Solar Store and one of the region’s foremost alternative green energy purveyors. Bingham, recognizing his old friend’s long-held interest in incorporating solar on his own property, told him about a revolutionary new technology.
It’s called the SECUSOL Smart Drainback Technology System – SECUSOL, for short. Manufactured by German-based Wagner & Co. and touting the tagline “Less Components – Reduced Cost – One Day Installation,” SECUSOL has for years been a go-to technology in Europe. Now, thanks to outfits like SEA, the technology is finally finding its niche stateside.
In Sullivan, Bingham had the perfect candidate for testing the innovative system.
“We wanted a system we could hand off with the home when the time came,” recalls Sullivan, a graphic designer who often works out of his home office. “We always knew we had a great spot for solar technology, so when Jack told us about the Wagner SECUSOL system, we were on board pretty quickly.”
How does SECUSOL work? Like most solar hot water systems, it starts with a panel or collector – two to be exact – typically on the roof. During operation, a “solar liquid” flows from the heat exchanger (located in the tank) through the collectors, while air is transferred to the upper part of the heat exchanger. Once the tank reaches its “energy maximum”, the system shuts off automatically.
For Sullivan, the system proved a welcome relief from watching money evaporate summer after summer.
“We just got tired of every summer having to turn the furnace on to heat up water for the house,” he recalls. “So in our minds the second we were getting hot water from the SECUSOL, it had already started paying for itself.”
The Green Sneakers Project is a door-to-door Maine neighborhood campaign created to motivate local citizens to take personal actions that address the global challenges of climate change and deteriorating air quality. Project plans include recruiting and training more than 150 volunteers to talk directly with 2,000 of their neighbor homeowners about strategies for saving money while reducing residential energy use. The Green Sneakers Project has already successfully canvassed in 14 Maine communities including Orono, Belfast, and Camden.
The Green Sneakers Canvass coming to Kennebunk, Kittery, Eliot, York, South Berwick, North Berwick, and Ogunquit on October 22, 2011. Maine Partners for Cool Communities and the Seacoast Energy Initiative are co-sponsoring the project. Green Sneakers is seeking 20 volunteers to canvas in Kennebunk on October 22nd. This is co-sponsored by Maine Partners for Cool Communities and the Seacoast Energy Initiative
Prospective volunteers should contact Melissa Boyd, email@example.com, 207.468.6588. Volunteers should arrive at the Canvass Headquarters (Location TBD) at 9:00 am. Once you arrive you will: grab some morning treats, pick up a T-Shirt, receive tips on going door to door, meet your team leader and your team, receive a map of the area; they are asking you to canvass along with talking points, receive bags and talking points that you and your team will deliver door to door (25 houses per team), and meet like minded others.
On Saturday, November 5, pizza aficionados of all ages can cast their votes for best regional pizza restaurants at the Children’s Museum of New Hampshire’s third annual PizzaFest and Holiday Auction. The event will be held from 5-8 pm at the Children’s Museum of NH in Dover and is generously sponsored by D.F. Richard. Attendees will be able to sample different varieties of pizza from local purveyors, then vote for their favorites. All proceeds benefit the museum’s innovative education and outreach programs.
Seacoast area pizza restaurants will be serving up both cheese and specialty pizzas for guests to sample and judge in the categories of Kids’ Choice Cheese and Grown-Ups’ Choice. A judging panel will crown the Judges’ Pick for Best Pizza, Best Crust and Most Creative Toppings. This year’s judging panel will include a student from the Culinary Arts program at the Regional Career Technical Center at Dover High School.
Eight pizza restaurants are already confirmed for this year’s event: Dover House of Pizza, Kendall Pond II, La Festa Brick & Brew Pizzeria, Papa Gino’s, River Bend Pizza & Subs, Roger’s Restaurant, Smiley’s, and Uno’s Chicago Grill.
In addition to all the pizza-tasting, there will be activities for children including games, interactive exploration of exhibits and face painting. This event is family friendly but adults on their own are also welcome, as this is a great opportunity to start holiday shopping.
Autumn in New England means many things: beautiful foliage, harvest festivals, and great deals at mountain resorts for the upcoming ski and snowboard season!
While winter's still a ways off, the Farmer's Almanac seems to think we've got a good chance at having another snowy winter (see graphic showing their snowfall prediction for this winter). And the Shawnee Peak Mountain Resort's got a great deal available for a limited time: buy a Night Season Pass that's good all season, with no blackout dates, for just $131! But this offer is only good until October 14, so hurry!
That means being able to enjoy New Engalnd's largest night skiing operation for typically 70 nights/season, with 1300' and 19 trails of vertical pleasure! So whenever Shawnee Peak has the lifts spinning at night, whether it's weekends, holiday weeks, and more, you'll get to maximize your fun factor by going right to the chairlifts; no need to spend time at the ticket window!
Almost everything we do in our homes requires electricity: we brew coffee before work, watch our favorite TV shows, throw the dinner dishes in the dishwasher and browse the internet – usually at the same times everyday. Those daily routines can make us feel like we live in our own little worlds, so it’s easy to forget that everyone else on the street is more than likely using electricity in those same ways at those same times.
And that oversight costs everyone money.
Electricity is more expensive during peak hours, the times during the day that people tend to use more electricity, because the sudden jump in energy use puts a greater strain on the power grid.
Central Maine Power (CMP) began an initiative earlier this spring to not only reduce the overall cost of supplying energy to customers, but to help those customers use their energy more responsibly.
The plan involves replacing all the current analog meters on peoples’ homes with new Smart Meters. These wireless meters will not only eliminate the need for a meter reader to go door-to-door, but will allow customers to access their power consumption in real time.
With an over-capacity crowd spilling into the isles and onto the stage-front floors, you could say Joel Salatin had the packed Seacoast Repertory Theater wrapped around his green thumb.
“I’m just happy the Portsmouth Fire Marshal is a Libertarian,” he began, drawing a sizable laugh from the capacity crowd.
With nearly 300 eager listeners in attendance, the self-described “lunatic farmer” and proprietor of the famed Polyface Farms in Virginia’s Shenandoah Valley riffed for well over an hour on the growth of – and challenges facing – the slow food movement.
Describing his profession as a “mob-stocking herbivorous solar conversion lignified carbon sequestration fertilization,” the raucous Salatin – author of no less than seven books – effused the virtues of agrarian values and practices largely sequestered over the past five decades of increasingly industrialized and conglomerized food production.
Whether talking about using pigs as composters, using a land’s surrounding hills for cheap, reliable water, or challenging notions of organic food’s“unaffordabilty,” Salatin’s quick wit, rapid-fire delivery, and irrefutable scientific prowess made for an evening that was as educational as it was entertaining.
Rian Bedard, owner of EcoMovement Consulting and Hauling, a commercial and residential composting and recycling company, was particularly impressed with Salatin’s message and methods.
“I think his holistic message that everything is connected really resonated with the crowd,” said Bedard, who also had the pleasure of speaking with Salatin personally on the phone earlier this morning. “He’s going to have a huge impact, and that impact is just starting.”
After his initial talk – met with a resounding standing ovation from the sardine-packed crowd – Salatin fielded audience questions for close to an hour.
The event was sponsored by Veris Wealth Partners, a firm specializing in socially and environmentally responsible investments.
Tuesday marked the official launch of the Downtown Portsmouth Zero Waste Project, a community-wide effort to establish the city's first public recycling program.
The day’s events centered around the placement of four colorful recycling stations throughout the downtown area, along with a fifth in Prescott Park.
The initiative's official rollout was followed by a brief gathering and ribbon cutting in Market Square at approximately 6:00pm. Afterwards, attendees wereinvited to join the Zero Waste Portsmouth team for a celebration at the nearby Portsmouth Brewery.
A strategic partnership of the Islington Creek Neighborhood Association, Tim Gaudreau Studios, and EcoMovement Consulting and Hauling, Zero Waste Portsmouth has over the last two years spearheaded efforts in and around Portsmouth to reduce the amount of waste being dumped into Rochester’s Turnkey landfill through creative recycling and composting alternatives.
Karina Quintans, Zero Waste’s Director says the project began with a simple brainstorming session amongst neighbors, all of whom harbored a keen interest in helping speed up Portsmouth’s push towards sustainability. By the end, it had become clear that “zero waste” sat atop the list of priorities .
Specifically, the group envisioned recycling stations – placed throughout the town – as eye-catching as they were practical. A few months later, during a green homes tour, Quintans met Tim Gaudreau, a self-proclaimed “eco-artist” and one of the Green Alliance’s first ever Business Partners. Needless to say, Quintans had found the ideal partner for the job.
“It was the perfect alignment,” recalls Quintans. “It was obvious that Tim’s passion for art and the environment would help transform the project into something unique.”
As part of our never-ending quest to give away as many freebies as possible, we're now expanding our generosity to the world of high-stakes, heart pounding auto racing!
Get this: we're giving away two sets of 2 tickets to this Saturday's NASCAR race at the NH Motor Speedway in Loudon to the 1st folks who either join or renew with the Green Alliance! (If you're unsure of your membership status, please email firstname.lastname@example.org).
But hurry, the race is Saturday, and we need to give these tickets away by the close of business tomorrow! Plus, your Green Alliance membership also gets you discounts at over 90 businesses across the region.
Green Alliance members, START YOUR ENGINES!!
Being Green Alliance (GA) members, Chris & Alison Pyott knew they wanted to incorporate as many local and sustainable features as possible when they began renovating their mid 19th century carriage house earlier this year.
The Pyotts, who live in Portsmouth, chose the Middle Street abode in 1998 for its unique space, compact size, affordability and location. But after nearly 13 years, even the most beloved home will tend to present its fair share of overhaul demands.
Five rounds of architectural drawings and one near addition ground-breaking later, the couple finally decided that more space wasn’t nearly as important as the right space, and the freedom it provided.
“Over the years we’ve really become accustomed to the flexibility our home provides,” Says Chris Pyott. “We love to travel, we love to enjoy life, and we just decided to stick with what was most important to us and refresh it in a responsible way.”
Their efforts started with a comprehensive Energy Audit from Henningsen Home Inspections – a Green Alliance partnering business – to help guide their remodeling decisions. Much to their pleasant surprise, the Pyotts were relieved to learn that the 25 year old casement windows were still efficient, saving them money that they could then spend on other cosmetic improvements.
For their interior finishes, the couple solicited the help of yet another Green Alliance business in Greenovations, a catch-all store for green building and remodeling which was launched last year. It was there that the couple met owner Christopher Ring, who helped them with many decisions throughout the renovation process.
“Right away I saw their commitment and desire to be as sustainable and local as possible, so I tried to help them achieve both of those goals,” recalls Ring. “I did my best to support this direction, even if it meant losing out on a sale.”
Ring helped the couple purchase an all natural, non-toxic wool carpet and pad for the carriage home’s bedrooms. Soon afterwards, the conversation turned to flooring options for the open concept first floor. As it turns out, Ring had for months been a distributor for Jewett Farms & Co., the Newburyport-based purveyor of sustainable fine wood flooring and cabinetry and – you guessed it – another GA partnering business.
On Tuesday October 4 at 7PM, the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission (ASMFC) will hold a public hearing to allow citizens to voice concerns over declining Atlantic menhaden stocks. The event will be held at the Urban Forestry Center, 45 Elwyn Road, Portsmouth, N.H.
Although you will never see Atlantic menhaden appear on a menu, this little fish is critically important to the marine ecosystem. Menhaden are a critical food source for valuable fish and marine wildlife.
But in looking at studies over the past few decades, we see declining amounts of menhaden in the diets of striped bass, ospreys, bluefish and weakfish. Menhaden help drive the health of coastal economies and communities. Saltwater fishing, whale watching and bird watching generate hundreds of millions of dollars per year on the East coast. By weight, more menhaden are caught than any other fish on the East Coast.
About three-quarters of the Atlantic menhaden catch comes from the Chesapeake Bay and surrounding ocean waters near the coast. These fish are ground up and reduced to fish meal and oil for use as dietary supplements, fertilizer, farm animal feed and pet food.
It wouldn't be a proper store (re)opening without a big bone thrown to Green Alliance member, would it?
That's the philosophy of the Habitat for Humanity ReStore general manager Doug Wiley as he diligently prepares ReStore's beautiful, spacious new location in Newington. To get things off on the right foot, and to move some of the great merchandise they're bringing, Doug is making a 15% discount available to all Green Cardholders during October!
A program of Southeast New Hampshire (SENH) Habitat for Humanity, the ReStore supplies overstocked, discontinued, new and used building materials donated by manufacturers, stores, contractors and individuals. These donated items are sold to the public or used in construction of Habitat houses. And many of these items are in fabulous condition, meaning you're getting pre-owned materials (including cabinets, doors, windows, flooring, sinks, and more) at incredibly low prices once you factor in the Green Alliance discount! And if you're not already a Green Alliance member, click here to join and save at ReStore and 90 other green businesses across the region!
Total proceeds from this store benefit SENH Habitat for Humanity’s mission to provide safe, decent, affordable, and energy-efficient housing to hard-working, low-income families within our community.
Fall may not officially begin until September 23, but with our overnight low temperatures dipping into the 40's, it feels like Fall has already arrived. And Fall in New Hampshire means outdoor harvest festivals, spectacular foliage, and Saturday afternoon UNH football!
While known as a perennial hockey powerhouse, UNH football has experienced a renaissance over the past 2 decades, including September 10th's heartstopping overtime win versus defending Patriot League champion Lehigh. And if you're looking for a spot to enjoy the UNH football games this year, look no further than downtown Newmarket, where the Riverworks Restaurant & Tavern - a proud supporter of UNH athletics and academics - is offering discounts to Green Alliance Cardholders on football gamedays this season! Just flash your valid Green Card on football gamedays this year, and take advantage of their "buy one appetizer, get the 2nd one free" after the games.
And Riverworks' appetizers are the perfect post-game food! They've got staples like the ultimate nachos, cajun-spiced buffalo tenders, and traditional stuffed potato skins, but why not go no-huddle with their lobster aranchini, mussels, or saku tuna? And there's no need to burn a timeout if you're not a Green Cardholder yet - Riverworks now sells Green Alliance Green Cards right at the tavern!
So get over to Riverworks during UNH football games, and root, root, root for the Wildcats this Fall!
With criticism of large financial institutions at an all-time high, few seem willing to make the distinction between big regional banks and the more local community banks.
Here in Portsmouth, Kennebunk Savings – one of the region’s oldest community banks – is planning for growth within their industry, choosing to hitch on to what has always been a tried and true wagon of growth: small businesses.
In late July Kennebunk Savings officially announced the configuration of a new small business lending program. Rather than house all of their lending under one, all-encompassing umbrella, Maine-based Kennebunk Savings will instead have separate offices for businesses large (anything over a $ 1 million) and small (anything between $5,000 and a $1 million).
John Burcke, Vice President, Small Business Lending Team Leader, at Kennebunk Savings new Portsmouth Branch (located on 111 Maplewood Avenue), says the program was adapted to be more responsive to the region’s biggest economic engine.
“Certainly small businesses need to be looked after,” says Burcke. “A majority of any bank’s customers are small businesses, and here on the Seacoast they’re an even larger segment.”
Over 95 percent of New Hampshire businesses employ less than 100 people, with 85% employing less than 20 people.